Steve Pearce

Paul Rutherford/USA Today Sports

Steve Pearce is everything Hanley Ramirez wasn't

Alex Reimer
August 04, 2018 - 10:33 am

Alex Cora says he recommended the Red Sox cut ties with Hanley Ramirez, because he didn’t believe the struggling $20 million veteran would be able to excel in more of a part-time role. 

“It’s nothing against the player, because Hanley is a good player. He was going through a slump,” Cora told “Dale & Keefe” at the time. “That’s part of it. Everybody goes through it. … I did feel as an organization, our roster was going to be a little bit tight with him not playing every day.”

Chalk it up as one of Cora’s best decisions in a season that’s been full of great ones.

The Red Sox acquired Steve Pearce roughly one month after Ramirez’s DFA. Since then, he’s only hit .357 with a 1.162 OPS and five home runs to boot –– including four over six at-bats between Thursday and Friday. 

Ramirez was in a brutal slump when the Red Sox cut ties with him, batting .163 in May. While he was productive in April, Cora didn’t believe he would be able to rekindle his swing sitting on the bench against most right-handers. Also, if one reads between the lines of Cora’s comments, it’s not difficult to figure out that Cora was worried about Ramirez becoming a malcontent. 

Since arriving in Boston, Pearce has only played on back-to-back days four times. That makes his production all the more incredible. 

It’s probably because Pearce is used to this role. He’s never garnered more than 383 plate appearances in a season, yet his career OPS is .785. This year, he’s mashed both lefties and righties, posting a 1.076 OPS against the former and .911 OPS when he takes on the latter. 

Throughout his entire with the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski has made shrewd veteran pickups at the trade deadline. Last season, it was Eduardo Nunez who gave the Red Sox an offensive boost. The year before that, Brad Ziegler provided the Red Sox with much needed stability in the back of the bullpen. 

But Dombrowski’s haul this season ––Pearce, Ian Kinsler, Nathan Eovaldi –– promises to be his most impressive. And the Pearce acquisition wouldn’t have been possible if Cora didn’t stick by his convictions, and make the bold recommendation to release Hanley. 

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